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Dan Hooker at welterweight?! Lightweight contender teases possible division change

After another setback loss in his hopes to become a title contender at 155, Hooker says he’s working with a dietician to try something new.

Dan Hooker waits for the start of his fight with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267.
Dan Hooker waits for the start of his fight with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

If the Dan Hooker of the past is to be believed, there’s no way he’s considering moving back down to 145 lbs.

“It’d take a million bucks to get me back down to featherweight,” Hooker told reporters back in 2017.

And while his ten UFC bouts in the time since making that statement might put him somewhere in the neighborhood of that $1 million, it’s hard to think the 6’ 0” lightweight would be honestly considering dropping back down a division. After all, it’s not like the cut gets any easier with age. And Hooker has had more than 4 years to fill out his frame into that of a natural 155er.

Still, it sounds like some kind of change is coming. On a recent episode of TheMacLife’s Pub Talk podcast, Hooker teased that he was preparing to make test out a move (transcript via MMA Mania).

“Doin’ a little something something at the moment,” teased when asked about his future plans. “Gotta make your next move your best move. Let’s just say I’m working with the UFC and a fight dietician very closely and I’m doing a little test run and we’ll see. I’ll be able to answer every question on next week’s show.”

While still firmly among the lightweight elite, Hooker has gone just 1-3 in his past four bouts. Most recently dropping a short notice fight against Islam Makhachev at UFC 267. And even though his other losses have come to top flight competition, in Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, the chances for a shot at lightweight gold anytime soon do feel slim.

Is Hooker really set to try and take on the heavy-duty power wrestling of the top contenders at welterweight? Or will he try and see if he can keep the bulk he’s added while draining himself down to battle the high output volume strikers at 145. With fellow City Kickboxing talent Alex Volkanovski on the featherweight throne, that move feels all the more unlikely. Seems much more probable that fans could see Hooker trying his luck at 170 lbs come 2022.